Religion

Nic McPhee via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/4zGJzN

Vocal anti-vaxxers like Jenny McCarthy have got some in the science community saying if you don’t have an advanced degree, you have no right to question the experts.  But are they right?

On today’s show, a science journalist makes a bold argument: that free speech trumps good science. Then, we’ll tackle a controversial question for pet owners: whether or not to keep domestic cats indoors in the name of saving birds.

Plus, we’ll find out why more and more Europeans are ditching Darwin’s theory of evolution and embracing creationism.

Listen to the full show or click read more for individual segments.

Aslak Raanes via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/4LD1Y

Today, hell can mean a bad day, other people, or a threat to sinners, but it wasn’t always so. On today’s show: how hell has evolved, from a place of flaming torture, to tangible horrors here in the real world. Then, when Comedy Central announced Trevor Noah as the new host of The Daily Show earlier this week, there was an immediate outpouring of support. But the love-fest quickly soured when screen grabs of a few of his past, offensive, tweets were circulated online. Jon Ronson, author of the new book So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed weighs in on the scandal. 

Listen to the full show or click read more for individual segments.

The Technicality Show

Dec 18, 2014

We’ve all heard of a guilty person getting acquitted of crime because of a “technicality”.  What happens when a law professor discovers a judicial loophole that could make for the perfect crime?

On today’s show, it’s all about the technicalities, the loopholes, artful dodges and escapes. From how to get away with murder, to how to turn the lights off when your religion prohibits it.

Plus, the most expensive typo in American legislative history.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Sam Rosenbaum / Flickr/CC

With the holiday season in full swing, many turn to their religion for traditions and spiritual meaning. But for a growing segment of Americans, there’s little interest in finding a house of worship.  We’re looking at the trend toward these so-called ‘nones,’  who include not only atheists and agnostics, but folks with a variety of beliefs.

GUESTS:

  Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Scott Brown moved to New Hampshire late last year, and is now locked in a tight race with incumbent Jeanne Shaheen. Whether Brown wins or loses, he’s already having an indirect, but potentially profound effect on his new home state: as the landlord  of a nascent evangelical church in Portsmouth.

Unknown, via Wikimedia Commons

Over the past 25 years, the percentage of people with no religious affiliation has more than doubled, at the same time, the internet has been widely embraced. Coincidence? Today on Word of Mouth: does the internet spell the fall of religion? Or is it more of a correlation than a cause? Plus, we peruse the new release section of the bookstore and notice a trend, Catastrophe 1914, 1914: History in an Hour, 1914: Fight the Good Fight. A look into the downside of treating years as celebrities.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments


Ella Nilsen / NHPR

I was listening back this week to New Hampshire Daily, a half hour NH news program we aired from October, 1989 to February, 1992. I was listening to the programs from the week of 14 May, 1990. Among the news of the day (including the death of Jim Hensen, and Lithuania’s independence negotiations with Mikhail Gorbachev) was a four part series we produced about the Canterbury Shaker Village.

randallbalmer.com

James Earl Carter Junior is better known to the world as Jimmy and to the nation as our 39th president.   Other images appear in our minds as well: a one-time peanut farmer, the man who struggled during his time in the White House and after his presidency, and a humanitarian and global peace maker.  But in a new book, Dartmouth professor Randall Balmer takes a new look at Carter., who he says ‘was capitulated to the nation’s highest office by an electorate weary of political corruption, and enamored, however briefly of Carter’s evangelical rectitude.”  But many who supported Carter’s religi

Ten years ago this week, Rev. Gene Robinson officially became the first openly gay bishop in history. He was elected in June, 2003 and on 7 March, 2004  he was "invested" at a ceremony where the previous bishop (Rev. Douglas Theuner) formally handed the shepherd's crook to him.

  Just days before the investiture, Robinson spoke with John Walters on NHPR's The Front Porch about his election, and the controversy that followed in and around the Episcopal Church. They discuss the transition and what his plans are taking the church forward.

squirelaraptor via Flickr Creative Commons

Lucifer, Beelzebub, the Prince of Darkness…whatever he's called, some seventy percent of Americans believe in the existence of the Devil. That’s according to a 2007 Gallup Poll, and that number has increased steadily since 1990, when only fifty-five percent believed in evil personified in the form of Satan.

Now, researchers are looking at the implications of belief in “pure evil” on psychological and social behaviors.  Piercarlo Valdesolo is Assistant Professor of Psychology at Claremont Mckenna College and contributor to Scientific American’s “Mind Matters” blog, where we found his article, “The Psychological Power of Satan.” 

© Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk

Yesterday, Pope Francis gave a spontaneous and startling frank press conference on a plane ride following his week-long trip to Brazil. In response to a question about gay priests, he said: “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

This stands in stark contrast to the views of his predecessor, Pope Benedict, who publicly and repeatedly stated that gay relationships were “evil” and “contrary to natural order.”

Here to talk about what might some are saying is a monumental shift for the LGBT community and the Catholic Church is Joe Jervis, the blogger behind “Joe. My. God.”, which covers LGBT issues, the media, and politics.

Laura Glazer

Phillip Patterson is a sixty-three year old retiree from Philmont, New York who’s spent the past 7 years working on a handwritten volume of the entire  – almost 800,000 word King James Bible. Phillip suffers from AIDS and related illnesses, often making the quest slow-going, though he sometimes logged up to eighteen hours of writing a day. He just recently finished the epic manuscript.

In the wake of 9/11, the faith of many people was shaken to the core… with the help of authors like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, a movement many referred to as “New Atheism” emerged – pointing a finger at religion as a source of global violence and zealotry.  Now, more than a decade later, the rhetoric seems to have softened.  Our guest today argues that secular humanism is shifting into a new era, paving the way for a brand new conversation about religion and the faithless.

Photo by Nick Traveller, via Flickr Creative Commons

Springfield’s evangelical Ned Flanders and Hindu Kwik-E-Mart owner Apu are frequent foils to satirize and explore religious belief systems on The Simpsons -- America’s longest running scripted TV show.  Mike Reiss, four-time emmy winning writer for The Simpsons is interested in teasing out another brand of animated spirituality – Judaism.   He’s presenting “Jews in Toons” -- discovering Jewish themes across Springfield’s twenty-four year history.  His talk takes place at the New Hampshire Jewish Film Festival at Concord’s Red River Theatres on April 14th.

Amanda Loder / NHPR

Billions of Christians around the world are in the midst of Holy Week observances in the run-up to Easter.  Many of these rituals have been in place for centuries. 

But how does an ancient faith adapt to the age of the internet, social networks, and smartphones? 

So far, the answer is “slowly.” 

But a pair of New Hampshire entrepreneurs hope they can speed up the process. 

It’s fitting that the idea for a prayer-based social network came to Jamie Coughlin and his brother Adam while they were parked on a pew at Mass.

Catholic cardinals from around the world are meeting now, as the process of choosing a new leader gets underway at a time of tremendous upheaval for their church. We’ll find out what religious leaders and others in the Granite state are saying about this and what they think it means for the future.

Guests

N.H. Parishioners Celebrate Pope Benedict

Mar 1, 2013
Ali Kuzmickas

Thursday marked the end of Pope Benedict's nearly eight year tenure as spiritual leader of the Catholic Church. In New Hampshire, 150 parishioners attended a noontime mass at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Manchester honoring the Pope.

A Review of Vatican Two

Dec 20, 2012
enggul via Flickr Creative COmmons

Fifty years ago, more than two thousand bishops, under Pope John Paul the 23rd, set a new course for the Catholic Church, addressing its inner workings but also its role with the world, fostering friendly relations with other religions, for example. But to this day, some feel the Church has yet to fulfill the promise of Vatican Two, while others have downplayed its message - or say that the second Vatican council went too far.

Guests:

Many use the First Amendment to argue their notion of religious liberty, which is defined as both freedom from government involvement in religion and freedom to practice one’s faith.  But disagreements abound over these matters, whether it’s prayer at public meetings, polling places at churches, or substituting the term “holiday” for Christmas. Today, experts on both sides debate church and state.

Guests

Badass Nuns

Nov 20, 2012
griffintech via Flickr Creative Commons

Pop culture has a pretty good store of gleeful nuns along with plenty of repressed, vindictive sisters and mothers superior.  The stereotypical nun is neither action hero, rockstar or Klan fighter. That’s why we found a recent list of gutsy nuns in Mental Floss so intriguing.

Clay Wirestone is a freelance writer who compiled a list of some of history’s bravest and boldest nuns for the December issue.

Pilgrim's Progress

Nov 20, 2012
Phil Gyford via Flickr Creative Commons

A metaphor for making one’s way through the world is the pilgrimage. The pilgrim aspired to following an inner path, guided by the spirit, from a state of wretchedness to blessedness.  We’ve been following a literary magazine that draws on all these traditions.

Amanda Loder / NHPR

Governor Mitt Romney’s connection to New Hampshire is well-documented.  He owns a house on Lake Winnipesaukee, which he visits regularly.  And the Mormon meetinghouse in Wolfeboro serves as his second spiritual home.  But what’s less understood by many outside Mormonism is what it’s like being a member of this religious minority in northern New England.  

Las Vegas Temple Moroni
ricketyUS / Flickr Creative Common

In a recent story, I mentioned the Mormon Church’s stance on political neutrality.  It’s a complex issue, and not one that can be explained at-length in a radio feature.  For the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS), this stance isn’t just to protect federal tax exemptions.  It has deep religious and cultural roots.  After a series of editorial discussions in the newsroom, we felt NHPR listeners might be interested in a more in-depth explanation.

Diocese of Manchester, NH

We sit down with Bishop Peter Libasci, nearly one year after he took over as head of the Diocese of Manchester. We’ll talk with Bishop Libasci about what he hopes to achieve as leader of more than a quarter million New Hampshire Catholics.

angelofsweetbitter2009 via Flickr Creative Commons

If you grew up in a religious home with a portrait of Jesus on the wall, he was probably portrayed as brown-haired, brown eyed, and Caucasian.  But have you ever wondered why a Judaic man born in the Middle East would look like an aquiline-nosed Northern European?  Edward J. Blum is a professor of history at San Diego State University, and along with Paul Harvey, is author of “The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America".  

Cambridge University Press

This presentation was given at the Unitarian Universalist church in Peterborough, N.H. on August 19. The presentation will air on NHPR at 4 p.m. on Saturday.

From the Monadnock Summer Lyceum:

Brady Carlson, NHPR

This weekend the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire formally begins the process of installing its next bishop.

His name is Robert Hirschfeld, and he comes to New Hampshire after working for about a decade at a church in western Massachusetts. He’ll formally be consecrated as Bishop Coadjutor at a ceremony this weekend in Concord. Once that happens Hirschfeld will be in line to lead the Diocese next January, when Bishop Gene Robinson retires.

Mercy Health, via Flickr

This presentation was given at the Unitarian Universalist church in Peterborough, N.H. on July 8. The presentation will air on NHPR at 4 p.m. on Saturday.

From the Monadnock Summer Lyceum:
 

Bauhan Publishing

This presentation was given at the Unitarian Universalist church in Peterborough, N.H. on July 1. The presentation will air on NHPR at 4 p.m. on Saturday.

From the Monadnock Summer Lyceum:

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

For us, there can be no dispute that God has been and continues to be revealed through the faithful and often unsung witness of religious women in the United States. So reads a recent letter written by the Franciscan Friars of the U.S. expressing support for the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. The LCWR represents most of the country's nuns and it's now the subject of a Vatican investigation for encouraging, in the Vatican's words, radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.

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